Halliburton, the oil-industry services giant, was expected to ask a federal court in Pittsburgh Monday for more time to deal with hundreds of thousands of claims of asbestos-related injury involving one of its divisions. Reports said the company has yet to finish documenting the claims, a process that is central to filing a reorganization plan later this year. But attorneys for the plaintiffs appeared ready to ask the court to allow an extension of no more than two months. Last December, Halliburton and asbestos victims agreed to a deal in which the company would put its engineering and construction business under bankruptcy supervision and contribute almost $3 billion to a fund to cover current and future asbestos claims. That was to have been accomplished by March. But lawyers for the plaintiffs allege that the company is stalling in the hope that Congress will pass legislation addressing the liability of US companies to asbestos claims first.
Almost 4,000 workers will lose their jobs because of weak sales, Volkswagen of Brazil announced. But the company said many of those who are laid off may be able to transfer to a new venture, Autovision Brazil, whose mission has yet to be defined. Volkswagen employs 24,800 people in Brazil, where it is the third-largest automaker.